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Economics Research Institute Study Paper




Utah State University Department of Economics

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This paper reports results from a public good experiment conducted in the African nation of Botswana. Our findings provide a test of whether' African communalism' influences willingness to contribute to the provision of public goods. As globalization expands markets, and economies such as Botswana's continue to modernize, there is an increasing need to understand how cultural factors might influence the valuation of public goods. We find evidence that stated willingness to contribute to a public good in a hypothetical setting is higher than actual contribution levels in a real setting. However, this is only true in the second and final round of the experiment, when participants in the real setting have learned to significantly lower their contribution levels. The results draw into question the existence of a communal spirit in economically emergent Africa when it comes to the provision of public goods.